After several Sundays that we reflected from the Easter appearances of Our Lord, this day our gospel selection is not strictly about an Easter happening. Rather, we reflect on an Easter truth, a deeper meaning connected with the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In John 10, Jesus identifies himself as the model shepherd, the only gate through which one enters the sheepfold. Anyone who enters not through that gate is a thief and a robber. Jesus is the shepherd because he leads the sheep by speaking to them in a voice they recognize.

We know of course that in the church, after the Resurrection and especially after the Ascension of the Lord, structures of authority developed. Leaders were appointed to care for the growing number of the followers of Jesus. The gospel gives a corrective measure to the dangers of having such structures of leadership.

Leaders become easily prominent in the lives of the people who follow them. People are naturally drawn to them and admire them. Their presence is so close, that it would seem that to reach Jesus, it can only be through the leaders and their activities.

The gospel makes it clear that even though we have leaders in our faith community, Jesus is the one who must be so close, so immediate to the life of people, not the leaders. Why? Because only Jesus gives us God’s life. Leaders in the church were called shepherds, but we must not forget that there is only one divine shepherd, one model shepherd, one good shepherd in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The gospel is a direct attack on the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ time who are not true shepherds of the flock of God. But this is also a reminder to all Christians who are given the chance to lead.

In our churches, communities, schools, workplace, and families, do we see ourselves as leaders of other people? Do we behave like Jesus? Or do we like to “rule” rather than lead? Do we enjoy “authority” rather than intimate knowledge of the people entrusted to our care? Do we see ourselves as “judges” of others rather than as compassionate shepherds in the mold of the one gospel model?